Songs Of The Day 8/14/2015: 4 Hall & Oates Covers

Quarterly Covers Report – All right, all right. I’m sure there are many of you who are sick of my ongoing Hall & Oates fandom, and the constant appreciation I’ve kept forcing upon the world, via this blog and last year’s self-penned Treble extravaganza. In fact, I’ll have you know this very Quarterly Covers Report was originally scheduled to be an entire week of Hall & Oates covers, in honor of their coming to town to play a set at Marymoor Park in Redmond. (I did not attend.) But I scaled back on that. I decided that would be over-saturation and I didn’t want to run the risk of that whole Kathy-Bates-in-Misery identification coming back home to me to roost. But cut me some slack, okay? That Treble piece was the last thing I wrote about them, and they haven’t been featured on this blog that whole time, right? So I… what?



Oh. Well, that was January. Nobody reads this blog in January. It’s not a…



Well… metrics aren’t really my… oh, forget it. Here are four goddamn covers of Hall & Oates songs.

Nina Simone – "Rich Girl"
Kind of a rubbery version of Hall & Oates' first #1 hit, from her 1978 album Baltimore. Nina wasn't terribly fond of that album because she was shut out of a lot of the arrangements and production -- which I agree is a ludicrous proposition -- and indeed, there's a certain mechanization to "Rich Girl" that doesn't suit her fluidity as a vocalist. But it's a pleasant enough diversion.

Mondo Grosso – "I Can't Go For That"
Shinichi Osawa goes by the name Mondo Grosso and is one of Japan's top music producers. Just from my quick, cursory and not very attentive look at his bio, I'd equate his career in Japan to Timbaland's in the U.S. (Or, rather, everywhere.) This version of H&O's biggest R&B hit -- maybe the most unexpectedly enduring one in the whole catalog -- is sung by Zhana Saunders. My dossier on her is scant.

The Bird & the Bee – "Private Eyes"
Maybe it wasn't that high-profile beyond certain radio stations that hold semi-annual fundraisers and situations I'm sure involved Jools Holland, but the Bird and the Bee's tribute album Interpreting the Masters Volume 1 might have been the apex of the whole Hall & Oates reappraisal campaign back in 2010. It's a nice album that takes advantages of the spaces and corners of their songwriting. I have no idea what that last sentence means but I'll work on a diagram anyway.

And, finally... well, there's... there's this:

Hanoi Rocks – "Winged Bull"

The song is from Hall & Oates' 1977 album Beauty On a Back Street, which let's just say Hall & Oates themselves were not exactly happy with. It didn't yield even a minor hit (though it's not as bad as they think it was). The original is an attempt to hardwire hardcore Middle Eastern influences into the whole Hall & Oates deal with a nod to Assyrian mythology. Actually, they squeezed a couple of Greek and Egyptian myths in there too. But they totally gave the shaft to Scottish and Appalachian folk tales. The song was... well, here, decide for yourself.

Hanoi Rocks -- the second Finnish band to be featured this week! -- brought the distinctive influence of Europe to their hairy, metal-ly cover. And by Europe, I don't mean the continent, I mean the guys who did "The Final Countdown."

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